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  1. 11 points
    Trip: Sloan Peak - FA: Superalpine (WI3-4, 1000') Trip Date: 02/28/2020 Trip Report: On February 28th, 2020, @PorterM and I made what we believe to be the first winter ascent of the West Face of Sloan Peak. We climbed an incredible line approximately 1000 ft long of WI3-4 and steep snow climbing before our route joined the final 600 ft of snowfields to the summit. On the very final ice step, I suffered a short fall on rotten ice and a heinous top out and broke a few bones in the right side of my face. We bailed down the route and skied out. So technically, I guess we didn't finish the route, so say what you want about it. Our route started with a WI4ish pitch followed by hundreds of feet of stellar WI3 rambly flows in a gully just to the climber's right of the true west ridge spur on Sloan Peak. In our eyes, this was the only way up the true west face under WI4+/5. The whole face is loaded with huge free hanging daggers and wild lines. A competent WI6/M6 climber in the right conditions could send some absolute world class lines up there. I shared a lot more details, reflections on the accident, and route beta on my blog: https://climberkyle.com/2020/02/28/fa-sloan-peak-superalpine-wi3-4-1000/. Hopefully some others can get up there and finish this magnificent climb or poach some of the other unclimbed lines. Our route. up to where I fell. We were about to join the corckscrew route and head out. We climbed the gully on the right side of the photo. First pitch crux. Moving into the wonderful ice gully. Porter leading on that fat, fun, rambly WI3. The climbing in the gully was generally easy, sustained, and super fun! Incredible flows on the west face. Some helpful beta. Gear Notes: Screws, maybe a few small rock pieces and a picket. Approach Notes: Skin/hike forest service road 4096, then meander up Bedal Creek to the base of the west face.
  2. 10 points
    Via dei Ragni: Grade VI, 95deg snow/rime/ice, M4, 1000m Scribe/Photos/Climbers: Jeff and Priti Wright Google Street View: Cerro Torre Summit 360 Panorama We’ve had a picture of Cerro Torre on our desktops, phone wallpapers, and posters above our bed for the past 5 years. It was the reason we took up ice climbing in the first place. In February 2016, we made our first attempt on this route, hoping to at least get a glimpse of the scale of the mountain and understand what it took to climb it. The weather was too hot by then for the climb, and after three days, our high point was below the hard technical climbing. Previous trip report: The road to El Chaltén The Fitz Roy Massif These past two months were our fourth (and longest) climbing trip to the Chaltén Massif, and sixth year of watching the Patagonian weather patterns. We wanted to return to attempt Cerro Torre again, but the next two seasons were not possible because of bad weather. Last year, at the beginning of February, we saw a fantastic weather window, and the stars aligned. We flew down to Patagonia in a 9-day magical whirlwind of constant movement, and summited Fitz Roy via the Franco-Argentina route. While on the summit of Fitz Roy, looking down at the surreal summits of the Torre, we were determined more than ever to come back the following season. Day 1. We arrived in El Chaltén on New Years Eve, the last day of a 4-day weather window (brecha)…we missed it! Since then, January was filled with short stints (8-12hrs) of good weather in the mountains, and the arrival of a 6-day mega window in early February sent an electric buzz throughout town. We were a couple of bats out of hell with our 40lbs packs each as we set towards Laguna Torre. The plan was to pass through the Niponino base camp in the Torre Valley and bivouac at the higher Noruegos (Norwegian) bivouac, which would put us closer to Col Standhardt (the next day’s objective)…the passageway to the West Face of Cerro Torre where the Via dei Ragni route begins. Our bivy site at Noruegos Day 2. From the Noruegos bivy site high on the slopes of the Torre Valley, we traversed near the base of the Torres, under the celebrated SE Ridge (perhaps the greatest climb in the world) and also the 1959 Maestri line to the triangular snowfield where so much history and controversy took place. From the East, all of the Torres stand impossibly steep and impassable. To get to the Ragni route on the West side, we would climb up and over the Col Standhardt where an implausible car-sized chockstone sits interminably between the col’s steep walls. From the col, one gets the first glimpse of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap (Hielo Continental), a massive expanse of ice 200mi long. On a rare, clear day such as this day, we could see green Chilean fjords across the Ice Cap between large, snowy volcanos. A Lighthouse Several rappels deposited us down to the Circo de los Altares (Cirque of the Alters), an impressive crescent of white-capped peaks and toothed spires. From there we headed up another glacial ramp on Cerro Torre’s West Face to a high camp, 150m below the Col de la Esperanza (Col of Hope), first reached by Walter Bonatti in 1958 who hoped that this col would one day blaze a path to the summit. It wasn’t until 1974 that a team of Italians from the Ragni di Lecco (thus the name “Via dei Ragni”) completed Bonatti’s vision. Circo de los Altares Steep snow climbing and easy mixed terrain led us towards the camp at Col de la Esperanza, the camp we hadn’t reached on our last attempt. As we hiked past our previous high point, our hearts soared. This time around, the climbing felt much easier with 4 more years of climbing experience under our belts. Day 3. This day was a rest day of sorts. To set ourselves up for success on summit day, we were moving to the highest camp a few hundred meters up: El Elmo (“Helmet”), a prominent plateau below the steep, technical climbing. Those who were faster and stronger than us had gone straight to the highest camp the day before and were now going to do the hard work of battle-axing the bullet-hard blue ice and cleaning the cotton candy mushrooms of the summit. As we came over the Col of Hope, we entered an otherworldly expanse of mangled rime towers and precarious exposure. These deformed blobs of ice towers with icicle branches and feathery leaves seem like something only God or Dr. Seuss could conjure. It’s something so beautiful and terrifying at the same time. We were face to face, looking up at thisbeastly Tower. A spectacular nightmare. Day 4. Summit Day! We were pretty antsy to get going on the summit push. Falling snow greeted us when our alarms went off at 2:00AM as the mountain was enveloped in a cloud. All over camp, alarms went off and were snoozed as the precipitation discouraged movement. When the stars finally came out again, we were the first to muster our strength and get to work. Walking up to the base of El Elmo in the darkness, the first overhanging rime ice mushroom of the route, we gave a sigh “ah, breakfast!” The last 10m didn’t actually have any good protection (besides maybe a horizontal picket), and it was a sequence of cutting the feet loose, campus’ing from questionable tools, and shoving knees into the soft rime to make upward progress. Once at the top of El Elmo, a crowd had formed at the base, chomping at the bit. All of camp was finally up. The snooze button had proved an epic failure of our collective, strategically staggered alarms. We all watched in awe and gave whooping shouts from this low perch as our friend, Fabi Buhl, paraglided from the summit in the wee hours of the morning, slowly swirling in front of the spectacular sunrise over Lago Viedma. He was the first ever to fly off the summit of Cerro Torre having climbed the mountain first (and not dropped off via helicopter). After El Elmo, the mixed pitches zig-zag through a maze of rock and ice up to the base of The Headwall. Two pitches of blue, overhanging, bullet-hard ice. The final pitches mount three tiers of giant rime mushrooms facing the Ice Cap. This high ridge gets pummeled by the wet, freezing storms that race around the Southern Ocean to create these crazy rime formations. The first and second rime mushrooms had formed spectacular, natural blue-ice tunnels created by vortices of wind spiraling up the ridge, clearing a path through the thick outer layer of soft rime ice. Climbing into this vertical subway tunnel for 60 meters felt like entering a portal into another world. It eventually funneled up to an elevator shaft and spat us out of a squeeze tube. For the second and third mushrooms, we attached Petzl prototype “wings” to our ice tools to make purchase in the soft, overhanging, cotton-candy rime. These wings are horizontal plates that bolt onto the picks of our ice tools like Dilophosaurus gills. The Final (Summit) Mushroom was a beast. The previous day, it had taken the other parties many hours to clear a natural half-pipe, then dig a tunnel through the steepest part for many hours. Their line then exited their manufactured tunnel out onto the overhanging summit lip. Walking up to the steepest point on Cerro Torre on a perfectly still, clear day was absolutely surreal, basking in the bright orange-red glow of the sunset. The 200 miles of the Continental Ice Cap stretched before us and the Pacific Ocean now clearly visible. Behind, on the other side of the Torre Valley, small, wispy clouds hovered over the summit of Fitz Roy. We were lucky to get perfect lighting to fly our drone around for 30 minutes alone before we headed back down to our tents at El Elmo for the night. Days 5 and 6. To get back to town, you can reverse your way up Col Standhardt (M7 shenanigans), or take one of two trekking passes along the Ice Cap. We had experience taking the Northern pass (Paso Marconi) which was now in really bad shape. We opted for the Southern pass (Paso del Viento) to try something new, and hopefully be able to turn our brains off for a few days (sadly, this was not the case). The Hielo Continental spans 50mi across and crawls 200mi north to south across Southern Patagonia. It looked so beautiful and serene from our climb. Now, face to face with this beastly crocodile, it was the stuff of horrors. Canyons after canyons of impassable crevasses, we zig-zagged our way in no logical direction under a bright, unhelpful, full moon. From the air, our tracks must have looked like the random scribbling of a toddler on a massive, blank white floor. A sun dog greeting us after our descent. Finally reaching the pass and seeing people again after such a mental test of sanity was nothing short of jubilant. A popular trek is to take the pass South to Lago Viedma: the Huemul Circuit. We were now on a delightful trekking path and could now…finally… turn our brains off and just put one foot in front of the other for a mere 14 miles back to ice cream and showers and safety. Thanks: We had good confidence in the forecast and the length of the window, but it’s still important to have daily weather updates to anticipate the inconsistencies between each day. We’re so grateful for our weathermen who sent us updates to the inReach and gave us both confidence and peace of mind each day that we spun ourselves further from civilization: Dan Berdel, Devin Monas, and Rolando Garibotti. We’d also like to thank Dave Burdick (Alpine Dave!) for his support, inspiration and beta on the route. Also thanks to the American Alpine Club Live Your Dream Grant for supporting this trip. Recommended Reading: The Tower, Kelly Cordes Patagonia Vertical, Rolando Garibotti Enduring Patagonia, Greg Crouch Gear Notes: 1 picket (to place horizontally in vertical rime!), 13 ice screws, small single rack, ice tool wings, deadman stuff sack anchors Approach Notes: Approached via Col Standhardt. Also possible to approach via Paso Marconi (currently in difficult/sketchy conditions) or Paso del Viento (long). We came back via Paso del Viento, but it's also possible to climb back over Col Standhardt (M7 shenanigans with old fixed ropes here and there).
  3. 9 points
    Trip: Cabinet Mountains - Multiple Trip Date: 03/21/2020 Trip Report: I just wanted to share some photos and descriptions from the last couple ice seasons in the Cabinet Mountains. Anyone who got the 2019 AAJ or Alpinist 64 might have already seen pictures of the area. There have been a handful of Spokane area climbers putting up routes over the last couple seasons. All the climbing has been done out of Granite Lake which is near Libby, MT in the Cabinet Mountains. The climbing is quite varied, from single pitch WI3 to 1000ft hard ice and mixed routes. The area has been divided up into 3 big areas….A Peak, The Thunderdome, and Three Tiers. A picture is worth a thousand words so I will just resort to numerous pictures instead of more text……let the stoke begin for next season!! Looking across Granite Lake with A Peak towering 4000 feet above. The Thunderdome is the large sub dome in the center of the picture. The Thunderdome!! Some of the best ice routes anywhere around. Scott Coldiron and Matt Cornell on the first ascent of Mad Max, WI5+ (8 pitches). Nate Kenney climbing a steep skinny pillar called War Boys, WI5+. Scott Coldiron climbing a crazy pitch called Underworld, WI3. This route is 20m long and entirely inside an ice cave 500 feet up the Thunderdome! Another view of the spectacular A Peak and the upper wall of the Thunderdome. The big ice in the center of the wall is Road Warrior, WI5, M5 (8 pitches). Looking up the huge gash on A Peak. Scott Coldiron and Jess Roskelley put up the route Canmore Wedding Party AI5, M7, 750m, which ascends this central gash. The climb got nominated for a Piolet d'Or in 2019. Note: the large sheet of ice on the bottom rock band is still unclimbed as of 2020. Looking up the wide start to the "Blaster Routes". Blaster, WI4 is five pitches of ice while Master Blaster WI4, M5, (10 pitches) continues to the top of the Thunderdome. Looking up from the lake at the "Three Tiers". These cliffs have about 20-25 ice and mixed routes that have been done. A closer view of the the ice (during a fat season) on the center of the 2nd Tier with the 3rd Tier above. Scott Coldiron on the first ascent of Toast, WI5 on the 2nd Tier. Zach Turner leading The Dag, WI3 on the 2nd Tier......a super fun mellow corner. A shot of some of the 3rd Tier routes. Gyro Captain, WI4, goes up the ice on the right while Pig Killer, WI3, takes a line up some of the ice on the left. Multiple possibilities exist for mixed routes connecting the lower ice flows in the center up through the rock to the hanging ice above. Zach Tuner rappelling off Max's Bloodline, WI4, with the impressive routes on Thunderdome in the background. Jonathan Klaucke climbing funky ice on Cheedo, WI3-4, on the 2nd Tier. Looking across at the right hand end of the Three Tiers from the Thunderdome. The wide flow in the center is the start of Tomorrow Land, WI3+, 3 pitches, while the ice up on the right is Devil's Brownies, WI4, 2 pitches, and then farther right is Scales of Justice, WI4/5. Zach Tuner on the skinny pillar start to Splendid Angharad, WI5. The flow farther left is called Capable, WI4. Looking up the 2nd pitch of Tomorrow Land, WI3+ on the first ascent. This fat climb called Nightrider, WI4, 3 pitches, is on the far left of the Thunderdome. It is a bit longer of a hike from the lake but the route is a stellar moderate! Scott Coldiron climbing the crux 2nd pitch of Nightrider, WI4. Brian White starting up the classic Toast, WI5 on the 2nd Tier. The ice beyond him is the route Cheedo, WI3-4. Zack Turner on the sharp end during the first ascent of Grease Rat, WI4....a really fun route on the 3rd Tier. Matt Cornell working through the crux of Sarcophagus of Lies, M6. The route continues up and left until you can stem between the rock and the ice dagger above. This is a stellar line on the 3rd Tier with "quality climbing as good as Come and Get It" according to Matt. Brian White putting up a short route called Mystery Gas, WI3 on the 3rd Tier. Syd Atencio and Nate Kenney climbing up Devil's Brownies, WI4, on the Three Tiers. Granite Lake and the surrounding basin in the background. I think one of my favorite things about the climbing here is the views....it just never gets old!! Every time I walk across Granite Lake I have to pause and just look up. Hopefully this will get some people stoked about climbing up there because it is a beautiful spot with fantastic climbing. Happy to answer any beta questions or run them through Scott. Gear Notes: Ice screws......rock gear for mixed routes. Approach Notes: All climbs are best accessed from the Granite Lake trailhead. In winter it is a 9 mile hike/skin into the lake with about 2000 ft of elevation gain. Count on 4-9 hours depending on conditions. From downtown Libby, take Highway 2 east one mile to Shaugnessy road. Take a right and follow this for .7 miles before turning left onto Snowshoe road. After 1/2 mile take a right turn onto Granite Lake road. In .8 miles stay left on Granite Lake road and continue for 4 miles. This is the end of the pavement and where the snowplows stop in the winter. The Granite Lake trailhead is still another 3 miles but you will have to walk/skin/snowmobile that distance in the winter. There is usually plenty of room to park several cars just be mindful not to block the road or any of the neighbor’s driveways. From here follow the snow covered road for 3 miles to the actual Granite Lake trailhead. The road is mostly level with a few gradual climbs (400 feet of elevation gain in 3 miles). From the trailhead hike/skin the trail 6 miles up to the lake.
  4. 7 points
    Trip: Mt. Hood - Yocum Ridge Solo Trip Date: 03/21/2020 Trip Report: "It's not my imagination, I've got a gun at my back!" -Revenge, Black Flag Yocum Ridge is the first route I ever thought about climbing. I remember looking at the striking line from the bus stop in my elementary school. Even though I knew nothing about climbing at the time, the sheer beauty of the route captivated me. As I have accumulated some knowledge about climbing, I learned the route wouldn't go down so easy. Something about the jagged ridgeline dulled by rime gives Yocum a special sense of beauty. Today I set out to realize a childhood fantasy of mine. 3:00 and I'm starting the slog up the mountain. My morale is already low because I forgot my headphones. This damn climb is going to make me absorb the sounds of nature! Two hours or so of walking takes me up to Illumination Saddle. Here I lay eyes on the silhouette of Yocum ridge by headlamp. Nerves turn to excitement as the clock strikes 5:00. The glacier crossing was easier than I expected thanks to all the action the route has seen over the past few weeks. The footprints take me to a headwall a little to the right of where the guidebook says to go. The squeaking and ringing of my ice tools puts me into a trance. After about 150 feet of steep-ish climbing, I gain the ridge. Yocum starts off with a tease. An easy and welcoming rime stepped staircase obscures the rest of the ridge from view. I'll play your game. When the first gendarme comes into view, I have to fight thoughts of doubt coming into my head. At first sight, the rime covered sentinel looks steep and unforgiving at every point. The closer I get however, the clearer the line becomes. My cold helmet feels like a gun against the back of my head. I know it's time. I start to the right of a cave and quickly cut left. The ice feels solid and I flow through a steeper gully. 30 meters or so in, I arrive at the crux. Solid snow and ice turn to dead vertical swiss cheese. Through delicate movement and prayer, I fire through the crux. Each stick felt like a weak handshake. The section required commitment to tools placed in an unknown mixture of snow/ice with dubious feet. Finally, I reach the top of the first gendarme. My blood pressure drops slightly as I soak in the beauty of the bladed ridge that lies in front. Here I am extremely grateful for the groups before me who did the heavy rime clearing and bollard building. From the bollard at the end of the gendarme, I downclimb while on rappel to traverse across an exposed section to a big ledge. This beta worked well for me and seemed to alleviate problems some other groups were having. As I started the traverse pitch to the second gendarme, I felt something fall out of my pocket. I turn my head just in time to see my phone fly down the snow slopes and disappear into the glacier below. Perhaps my phone was the sacrifice the route required. Better phone than blood. Then, like clockwork, a raven swoops by me and perches itself on the tip of the first gendarme. We stare at each other for a minute and I thank him for allowing me to experience this route today. I know that I'm just a guest in the mountains. From here on I felt as if I had permission to continue my journey, hopefully my dues were already paid. The ridge widened the further I traversed down it. Passing the second gendarme was the most secure I felt since getting on route. More slogging took me to another bollard (this time with tat!) off of the third gendarme. I chose to rap north to avoid more thin ridge fuckery. Walking along the steep snow slopes took more energy than I thought. My calves burned and cursed me for bringing two single ropes to rap with. More training I guess. Even though some exposure was still present, I began to meditate with the route. Every swing, foot placement, and movement just felt right. As crawled back over to west side, the sun reared its ugly face, and I began to sweat my ass off. I followed more good tracks around to the right of the final buttress. The last buttress is like a fortress full of impassible walls and sneaky gullies. The first gully I started up took me about 150 feet and ended with impassible rime towers. I downclimbed and again, moved right. Here I could see tracks going to Leuthold from Yocum Ridge. Now I knew I was no longer under the gun. One of the rightmost gullies brought success. I tormented my calves up a few hundred more feet until I topped out the buttress at around 12:30. From the top of the buttress, one final ridge traverse took me to the Queen's Chair. 6 year old Landon would be proud. Looking down the ridge I could see all the minute details that made this route special. Negotiating the route was digging into the alpine bag of tricks and executing. I chose not to tag the summit because I wanted to search the base of the route for my phone (spoiler alert: the phone disappeared into a different dimension). Hiking down Leuthold gave me time to absorb the mountain more. Striking blue accents on rime towers, weird ice formations on the glacier, and the forest just miles away all presented themselves. Days like this make me question the future. I'm sure one day I'll find something that will bring me peace. I often think about Mark Twight saying that climbing can be "too much but never enough." Yocum Ridge was one of, if not the best alpine routes I have experienced. Although it wasn't technically difficult, the sheer volume of spectacular movement truly makes this one of a kind. On the way down I wept. For some reason this route had a different impact on me. Maybe it was the feeling of complete peace and isolation, maybe it was the sheer beauty of it all. Maybe I'm just emotional. I stumbled into the Timberline at around 4:00 and unlocked my car. With the clicking of the lock, my reality had become just a memory. Gear Notes: Basically a sport climb Approach Notes: Attack the ridge at about 8800ft
  5. 6 points
    With some time on my hands with the quarantine and all, I decided to compile some research. Here's a list of "forgotten" Cascade alpine testpieces (ice focused) or FACTs. Feel free to add some others I left out! Who's gonna be the first to tick the entire list? I apologize for all the weird formatting. I just copied this post from my blog https://climberkyle.com/2020/03/22/forgotten-cascade-alpine-ice-routes/. I90 I90 climbs offer the best access and easiest conditions to predict. There are undoubtedly many more climbs to be discovered in this area with easy access, generally good rock, and surprisingly rugged little mountains. Mt. Kent, North Face (multiple variations): the greatest north face in the Snoqualmie region with many long 1000 ft lines. Bonus: you can see conditions from I90 near exit 42 while driving west! This has been super high on my list to explore. Snoqualmie Mt, North Face (multiple variations): an abundance of mixed ice lines like the classic New York Gully and the lesser known Pineapple Express and Blue Moon. Abiel Peak, North Face (multiple variations): the “Ben Nevis” of the PNW has many shorter alpine ice and mixed lines. Bryant Peak, Hot Tubbs: Maybe this route hasn’t been around long enough since Jacob and I published it, but it reportedly hasn’t seen much action, so I think it’ll be forgotten soon enough… Summit Chief Mountain, North Face: Colin Haley said this line had “more ice climbing than any other Cascade ice climb” he had ever done at the time. Big compliment. The North Face is much like Dragontail, just fatter. Peak 3964, False Idol: An incredible 10 pitch ice route off the Middle Fork Snoqualmie that needs very cold temps to form. I believe this is just scratching the surface of the ice potential in the Middle Fork. US2 US2 offers some hotspots like the Stuart Range, with its steep granite peaks, and a sprinkling of other incredible routes in the Lake Wenatchee area. Weather is generally colder and drier on the east side, which is good for ice. Chiwawa Mountain, Intravenous: Cutting edge Colin Haley mixed route deep in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. Buck Mountain, Buckshot: Another bold line in a wilderness setting. One of the great underrated north faces in Washington. Mt. Index, North Face: Steepest peak in Washington, visible from the highway. Always an involved matter for a sub-6000 ft peak. Another huge route is Murphy's Law. Dragontail Peak, NE Couloir: This route feels much more full on than Triple Couloirs next door, and seems to be difficult to get in proper (fall) conditions. Colchuck Peak, NE Buttress Couloir: Often overlooked with Triple Couloirs and the North Buttress Couloir next door. Ends with a cornice-tunnel! Argonaut Peak, NE Couloir: Also a rock/snow route in early summer, this can be a fantastic mixed/ice route in late fall. Mt. Stuart, Ice Cliff Glacier: a technically easy but deceptively committing and full-on climb in a wild setting. Argonaut Peak, Chad Kellog Memorial Route: Challenging new age mixed route in the heart of the Stuart Range. Mt. Stuart, Lara Kellog Memorial Route: Climbs the incredible NE Face of Stuart above the Ice Cliff Glacier. Looks directly across to the Chad Kellog Memorial Route. Mt. Stuart, Stuart Glacier Couloir: A classic route where the crux is arguable climbing the west ridge in mixed winter conditions. Nason Ridge, Alpine Dropout: A fantastic looking ice route that sits just above Lake Wenatchee. Mountain Loop Close to Seattle but tragically overlooked, the peaks of the Mountain Loop are as rugged as anywhere in the North Cascades but with surprisingly decent winter access. The myriad of big climbs in this little region speaks volume to the incredible terrain. Big Four Mt, North Face (multiple variations): multiple routes, including the famous Spindrift Couloir. This is a mighty north face, and routes often take multiple days. Hall Peak, North Face: little brother to Big Four supposedly has some ice routes. Three Fingers, NE Face: This is a big route on a surprisingly big mountain. I believe there’s much more potential on the east side of Three Fingers. Whitechuck Mt, E Face Couloir: A very aesthetic couloir ice/mixed route. Access can be challenging unless it is a very low snow year. Whitehorse Mt, E Couloir: This steep route splits the Squire Creek Headwall for a fantastic line. I think it might even be visible from Darrington?! Sperry Peak, E Face Gully: Another beautiful, long, moderate ice/mixed route that likely varies in technicality from fall to spring. Sloan Peak, Full Moon Fever: This route climbs the weakness on the NW Face of Sloan. Having been at the base, I can say there is HUGE potential all over the place near the route. Sloan Peak, Superalpine: I certainly hope this climb isn’t forgotten, as Porter and I believe it is truly the best moderate alpine ice route we have climbed in the Cascades (better than Cosley Houston or the NW Couloir of Eldorado), but I know how things go around here… Lake 22 Headwall: who would think that one of the greatest alpine walls in the Cascades was just a short hour drive and hike from Seattle? There are so many unclimbed 2000 ft lines up this face, and you can get conditions updates by searching Instagram! Highway 20 Highway 20 undoubtedly has many huge ice lines, but difficult winter access has limited exploration. During lower snow years, the Cascade River Road could be a great area for exploration and development. Eldorado Peak, NW Ice Couloir: This route was sort of “remembered” in Fall 2019 when probably 20 parties climbed it (me included), but it’s a fantastic easier route, so I’ll leave it here. Colonial Peak, North Face (multiple routes): The mega line Watusi Rodeo offers 4000 ft of front point terrain and is “easily” accessible all winter. First Date is another attractive route. Pyramid Peak, NE Face (multiple routes): Home to some challenging mixed/ice routes on a wonderfully aesthetic peak. Graybeard, North Face: Everyone seems to report this deceptively big route deepened their sense of mortality. Davis Peak, No Milkshakes: the north face of Davis Peak is supposedly the steepest vertical mile drop in Washington. Silver Star, West Face Couloir: Originally planned as a ski descent, it actually turned out to be a huge ice climb! Visible from the highway, but you probably need a sled to get up there. Cutthroat Peak, Cauthorn Wilson: Gaining popularity lately, can be climbed right before the highway closes or after it opens. Early Winters Couloir: This one is sort of a classic and can be climbed in both fall and spring. Highway 542 The areas around Baker and Shuksan are generally well explored, but still offer great adventure. The Black Buttes are one of the centerpieces for hard alpine ice climbing. Lincoln Peak, Wilkes-Booth: A huge, challenging route on one of the hardest peaks in Washington. Assassin Spire, NW Face: Considered by many to be the toughest summit in Washington, this was also the first peak where the first ascent was made in winter. Colfax Peak, Ford’s Theater: The “forgotten” next door neighbor of the ultra classic Cosley Houston. Mt. Rainier / Tatoosh This area is dominated by the mountain, but I’m guessing the Tattosh have good stuff and certainly easy access. Rainier, Mowich Face: A long moderate route on the “quiet” (NW) side of the big hunk-a-hunk. Rainier, Ptarmigan Ridge: A steeper, more sustained route than its next door neighbor, the world-renowned Liberty Ridge. Mt. Hood I don’t know much about Hood, but I’m sure there are some great routes that are infrequently climbed, so I’ll take suggestions here!
  6. 6 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Yocum Ridge Trip Date: 03/08/2020 Trip Report: Climbed Yocum on Sunday along with @nkimmes. We left Timberline at 3:30am. At illumination saddle we encountered two other climbers also heading for Yocum. The four of us crossed the Reid unroped until the other two took a slightly lower line and both went waist-deep into a crevasse. We quickly threw on the rope and headed for the obvious ramp leading up to the ridge, gaining it without too much trouble. We reached the base of the 1st gendarme at 7:30am. At this point the other group was in front of us as we had accidentally gotten into some steep stuff on the southern side of the ridge while they took a gentler ramp to the north. First gendarme: The angle increased quite a bit towards the top (perhaps 70 degrees?) and both our groups belayed a short pitch here, though there wasn't much gear placed other than the initial, questionable anchor screws: This led to a small ledge. Noah excavated a bunch of crap and managed to place two cams in the underlying rock. I came up and led through a final 15 feet of bulgy vertical rime to the top of the gendarme. I didn't see what this part looked like before the first two went through but from below it sounded like it required about 1000 pounds of rime to be hacked away (thankfully it all went down a gully to the south, off of the ridge). Last part to gain the top of the gendarme: Above this we proceeded up a bit to the final, highest, most narrow point: The first group had rapped on a rime bollard (and survived) so we used it as well. Here is Noah getting ready to rap: Once he was down to a flat-ish spot Noah lowered me and then I led past him. Getting around the next tower involved very exposed traversing on the north side of the ridge on vertical rime/exposed rock. The ridge in this spot was basically just a pile of loose rocks that has somehow, improbably, remained vertical. I was happy to basically be on top-rope as the rope was still looped around the 1st gendarme. I got to a large, flat ledge where I could brace myself against a rime wall, took in all the slack, and then lowered Noah who came to join me. Around this time I looked at my phone and noticed that it was 9:30, meaning it had taken us a full two hours to get up and over the first gendarme. Photo below: Me, on top of the gendarme. Noah on the small ledge he rapped to. Ye on the large ledge I ultimately lowered Noah from. I'm not sure how they got down there. I'm guessing they did it more efficiently but maybe we get extra points for cleverness? From there Noah led a full 60m pitch of knife edge ridge, placing two pitons, three pickets, and an ice screw: This took us to the large mushroom in the above picture where the ridge changes direction and heads to the left. Here we unroped and walked up, under the 2nd gendarme, to the top of the 3rd. Coming up by the 2nd gendarme: The other group had been at the top of the 3rd gendarme for a while but we caught up in the time it took them to build another bollard. They did the short rap directly onto the ridge crest and we opted for the 60m rap to the north. The rap onto the ridge looked good but we were trying to make up some time and figured we could move faster traversing the snow slope below rather than negotiating more knife-edge ridge. Bollard on top of 3rd gendarme: The slope we rapped onto, with someone in the other group still visible up on the ridge: We quickly traversed up and right to get back on the ridge, passing the other two. This brought us to the base of the upper buttress: I was feeling pretty good/relieved here as I knew we could now safely retreat down the ramp into Leuthold's if needed. Neither of us knew what to expect from this part of the climb as there just isn't a lot of information out there. I knew that the original Beckey route traversed to the right before heading up a gully (but the guidebooks show it being in different gullies) and that the Wickwire variation was more direct. We started up the narrow, rambling rime slot in the center of the above picture, which I think must be the Wickwire variation: Our path dead-ended in an unclimbable rime amphitheater and we decided to rap down to a large, visible gully, which we guessed was the Beckey route. Maybe in the above photo we could have continued climber's left up the ramp rather than come up onto the rime fins? It's hard to know but in hindsight that seems to be the only other reasonable option. I didn't expect the route-finding in this area to be problematic but the buttress is huge and seems like a never-ending maze when you're on it. Getting ready to rap on another rime mushroom/bollard: The other two about to follow our (possibly poor) route choice: After some typical rappelling shenanigans (tried to be lazy and use 1 half rope, which of course wasn't quite long enough) we found ourselves on the southern flank of the buttress. There are a lot of appealing looking gullies up to the ridge crest but they're all quite long and it's impossible to see what you're getting into. I believe we were in the largest gully that appears the most prominent from the south (looks like the Beckey route in the Mullee book). It started with a short WI3 step. The ice was surprisingly great so we didn't bother to get the rope back out. Above that conditions alternated between rime and sugar snow. At one point I wasted about 5 minutes when Noah's steps in a sugar snow chimney collapsed and I found myself digging a hole rather than climbing upwards. Around this time I was beginning to fully bonk and just wanted to get up to the Queen's Chair. Probably the reason there are no photos of this part of the route anywhere is that everyone is completely wasted by the time they get here. At the top of the gully there was a slightly longer, steeper ice step, with a lot of non-weight-bearing crap and exposed rock mixed in. Noah soloed it and after a small amount of pleading put me on toprope. Noah at top of upper ice step: Above that the gully curved to the right and we came out onto the top of the ridge, about level with the Queen's Chair. The fun wasn't quite over as of course we still had to climb up and down a few rimey bulges in the ridge, which weren't serious but required full concentration in my tired-ass state. We got to the Queen's Chair and it was about 5:30 - we had been on the ridge for a full 10 hours. We plodded up to the top, then down the old chute. I wanted to write this as soon as possible while the memory is still fresh. I will come back and add some more details and general thoughts later. EDIT: Adding a few more thoughts now: I think we got very lucky with conditions. With a couple annoying exceptions the rime was solid and supportive. It was quite cold and there were some thin, high clouds, so everything remained solid throughout the day. At first I was annoyed that there was another group on the route, but it was actually quite nice. The exposure is mentally taxing and it was really helpful to be able to use their two bollards without expending much time or effort of our own. Going directly over the 1st gendarme is committing. Bailing off the ridge after that point would be difficult and require multiple rappels into uncertain terrain. Having the misfortune of encountering bad weather or unclimbable conditions after the gendarme would be a real nightmare. Pickets seem like the most reasonable protection. We carried too many screws and only placed two. The upper buttress is large and interesting with multiple possible lines. The short ice steps we found would be worthwhile objectives on their own if approached from Leuthold's and the Retreat Gully. Gear Notes: 3-foot pickets, screws, pitons, cams, a spectre, bring all the weird stuff and hope that at least some of it is useful. Approach Notes: Normal Hood south side stuff. Crashed a Silcox party on the way down and drank a lot of their beer.
  7. 6 points
    Super job! Doesn't matter if you summitted, only that you accurately report what you did and have fun with it all!
  8. 5 points
    Trip: Sperry Peak - East Face Gully Attempt Trip Date: 11/29/2019 Trip Report: Sorry I didn't post this for a few months, but basically I was scared of others going up there, turning around and seeing the massive ice flows on Sloan, and poaching our prize. But what's done is done so now I want to share what I learned from an attempt of the East Face Gully of Sperry over Thanksgiving 2019. This trip report (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7980139) caught my attention and Sperry became the focus of my fall alpine efforts. The east face is a beautiful 3000 ft wall with just an hour approach! This gully looked absolutely sweet, like some moderate mixed/snow/ice route. This was the only report I could ever find, so it was hard to know what to expect. Fall 2019 was very dry for us. At elevations below 5000 ft, there was no snow come mid November. Then, right before Thanksgiving, it dumped about a foot down to 3000 ft and got extremely cold (highs in the 30s in the lowlands). Good for ice right? Sperry. Approach slabs on the left. Gully obvious in the middle. Daniel and I drove up to the trailhead and hiked into Wirtz Basin around sunrise. We could immediately tell we were in trouble. The 3rd to 4th class approach slabs looked like they were covered in thin verglass and fresh powder. We started up them, but decided we wouldn't be soloing them (Daniel was pretty new to ice climbing at this point) so we tried going through the dense trees to the right. This was impossible, running into steep cliffs and powder on no base. We bailed back to the slabs. Typical climbing in the approach slabs. We broke out the rope and I led up the right side of the slabs on WI1-2 R where sometimes your crampons would bust through to the rock. It was very insecure, albeit easy. Just not what Hyalite prepares you for. I belayed Daniel off a small bush and then we scrambled up higher. Then to the right there was a little WI3 near vertical step for 20-30 ft that might have taken 6 cm screws. I now realize this was the "little icy step" Jim referred to in his trip report. Damn, those guys were tough. Another veggie belay brought Daniel up. The next section involved climbing atop branches while getting soaked in powder. Then we traversed across more 3rd class slabs covered in fresh powder in crampons. My crampons were brand new and suffered dearly. Finally, we were staring up the gut at the gully, around 4000 ft. It was near noon and the strong sun was causing snow to constantly cascade down the gully. It looked absolutely icy and beautiful! Certainly one of the most beautiful gullies I've ever seen, but we were too late to continue. The powder would have been heinious. We stopped here. But the ice looked so good! Sloan, with the lines already forming. We rapped off trees back down to the valley floor. We took a walk further up Wirtz Basin and admired the incredible geometric features of Sperry. It is truly one of the underrated great mountains of the North Cascades. There were all of these cutting edge mixed ice routes that went 1000 ft up the SE face in the deep chimneys and cuts, but then they just petered out into nothing. There were even some chimneys like hundreds of feet deep and perfectly angular. I could just imagine Colin Haley deep in the darkness, climbing some great new route. I'd love to come back in the summer and climb one of the huge 2000 ft rock routes Beckey mentions that never get climbed anymore. I think the east face gully could be a great summer scramble, 3000 ft of scrambling with basically no approach. This is an incredible mountain. This looks like an incredible route. We'll be back! Inspiring SE side of Sperry. I've seen another mountain like it. Serious ice potential further up the valley. Cool easier ice potential up on Morning Star. Great north face of Sperry. Wonder if that route has seen a repeat? North face Big Four. Lessons learned: * this is a tricky route to nail in proper conditions. If that low snow hadn't fallen, the approach slabs would've been dry (like they were for Jim), but would the gully had been filled in? Probably not this year. We needed more snowfall above 4000 ft. Or if just a bunch of snow falls to 3000 ft and consolidates, but you can still drive to the trailhead, that'd work also. Or just climb this route in mid winter consolidated conditions with a sled access. * The approach slabs are really the only way to go. Don't try to go around. * those old timers are tough mothertruckers. Gear Notes: A few screws, some rock gear. Approach Notes: Short, probably one hour if you can drive to the trailhead. But the slabs can be cruxy...
  9. 5 points
    Trip: Sloan Peak - Superalpine Trip Date: 03/15/2020 Trip Report: This past Sunday, Tavish and I climbed Superalpine on the west face of Sloan. After the incident last time I wanted to get back and climb the route to the top. We didn't quite tap the top due to wind slabs on the upper face. I'm going to mix up the order of this one and put all the route details first so those who are looking at climbing the route can use this page for reference. Kyle also has a great page about our first climb of this route with excellent photos and maps. https://climberkyle.com/2020/02/28/fa-sloan-peak-superalpine-wi3-4-1000/ Approach: Both times I've climbed this route we parked at the spot where 4096 merges from Mountain Loop Highway. 4096 had deadfall and snow which made it undrivable but if you can drive up a bit before there's too much snow or deadfall then that will cut off some distance. Follow the road (easy skinning or walking) to where the Bedal Basin trail forks off to the left. Take this trail through the trees for a few miles to where a slide path up to the left becomes obvious. This slide path leads to the base of Full Moon Fever. Skinning up this path is straight forward and takes you to the base of the West Face. A long traverse to the south will bring you to a ridge that leads to Superalpine. Here, options exist. Assuming you're on skis, I recommend leaving them at the base of the route and descending the route. There is also the option of descending the corkscrew route and wrapping around the south side to meet that ridge (it would be heinous to boot) or carry skis and descend the glacier to the North East that will eventually allow you to meet back up with road 4096. The ridge can be tricky. Once you decide your strategy, the ridge will still be engaging. It's not scary, just steep with deep snow. The Route: However you opt to get to the base of the route, you are first presented with 2 (or 3) options for pitch 1 to access the couloir itself. The first time Kyle and I climbed a WI4 step on the climbers left. It was vertical for 2-3 body lengths and fairly thin. This past time Tavish and I thought it looked even thinner so we scrambled the ridge further up (M2-3) then did one pitch that wrapped around to the second step of the first pitch and ended at the same place. Either way, you need to get to the bench at the base of the obvious weakness in the wall. A third option may exist to the climbers right of the ridge. Perhaps it's even easier (if so it would bring down the grade of the route to Wi 3-3+). Pitch 2: This money pitch leaves from the bench and provides a full 60m of steep sustained Wi3. Protection was generally good for this pitch. Make sure to go a full 60m if you are planning on simul-climbing higher on the route. Pitch 3: This middle section of the route was lower angle and about half snow and half low angle ice (wi2) for us. We found good pro every hundred feet or so. This section makes a lot of sense to simul-climb. Both times we did a 100-150m block. There was good ice at the top of a chimney-like feature, or, if you've saved enough screws, the next step had good ice on the right for us. Utilize rock gear to conserve screws through this section. Pitch 4: From the end of the last pitch, this is the last section before exiting to the face. Depending on where you belayed, you’ll either have a steep snow slope to a curtain or be climbing right onto the curtain. This curtain is where Kyle fell on our first attempt. This past time, I found a sub-vertical weakness (wi3/3+) on the right side of the curtain (not the smear further right which provides a good belay). However, when Kyle fell, there was spin drift blasting the section I climbed so he went further left where it is more like Wi4 with a heinous top out with sugar snow and hollow ice over sugar. I found good protection in the weakness but Kyle didn’t find good pro further left. Approach this pitch with caution, don't be afraid to back down. I found a great ice screw belay on the right about 20ft above the curtain. Another option to avoid this pitch if it is unclimbable is a snow ramp to the left. See photos to spot this snow ramp. This would avoid all of the upper curtain and put you on the upper face, however, it is steep and exposed and unprotectable. As with the whole route, use your judgment. This isn't just alpine climbing…. It's Superalpine! The steeps above: Look at photos of the big face above the route (and have them with you). There are a variety of options that exist to climb this large feature (700 vertical feet). When I climbed it most recently, we found deep unconsolidated snow, wind slabs, alpine ice, and rime features. This section is shared with the corkscrew route and is very committing. There are a lot of ways to get lost, falling is never an option and it's mostly unprotectable. Very reminiscent of the upper slopes of the Cosley-Houston on Colfax. If the snow is consolidated and secure, it would be a total blast to climb, if not, then maybe it should be avoided. On the first attempt we bailed due to injury, and on the second attempt, we bailed halfway up the face, after converging with the corkscrew route, due to thick cohesive wind slabs. The descent: Descending should be straight forward. Downclimb the steep snow, and rap the route. We took 5 or 6 raps to get down the whole route each time. There is no down climbing once you’re back down to the top of the curtain pitch. Each rap is a full 60m and ends at good ice, providing plentiful V-thread options. Other descent options exist as mentioned in the approach section but this option is quick and straightforward. Ski out the way you skinned in. Rack: In the conditions we found, 8 or 9 screws including a 10cm or two makes sense. Rock pro isn’t super plentiful and there is a lot of ice so we took 4 cams, 4 nuts, and a pin or two. This is probably what I would recommend. If you try it earlier, then beef up the rock gear side of things, the rock is quite solid in places. Hopefully, people get out and climb this thing! It is like the NW Ice Couloir on Eldorado but way bigger. Lots of ice, great setting, not too heinous of an approach. Tavish and I did 17hrs c2c. We were not rushing but we weren't lollygagging either and we were ~350ft from the top. Kyle made this topo with the options. My opinion remains to descend the route. Good to know your options. Here is a topo I made on a John Scurlock photo of Sloan from February 2005 (low snow/ice year). Red dots show the route (note the three options for the first pitch). Yellow is the tricky ridge. Green is an approach that could avoid the tricky ridge. Aerial photo from Shane in February 2020. The ramp to avoid the curtain is obvious in this photo. Now, onto the story from yesterday. Tavish picked me up at midnight in Bellingham after an hour or two of restless sleep. We drove through Darrington and onto Mountain Loop. His Prius handled the road like a champ and by around 2 am we were packed up and walking up the road. I was in crocs since I forgot running shoes, they did the trick (they're the next big thing in climbing for sure! Breathable, waterproof, sorta, ultralight, cheap, comfy, and climb 5.12 with ease.) Anyway, we started skinning after about a half-mile and cruised up to the Bedal Basin Trail in about 90 minutes. There was a fresh half-inch of snow showing bobcat (?) tracks following the existing impression of skin track. From there we encountered a mix of booting and skinning in the trees, mostly skinning but lots of skis on skis off. There was a slight impression of the existing skin track (probably from Michael Telstad, thanks!) that we followed and got us where we wanted to go. We skinned up the slide path below Full Moon Fever and the snow transitioned from a few inches on a crust to a nasty wind board. I knew it would be bad since I skied the white salmon the day before but I was hoping to find wind scraped, not wind loaded terrain on this aspect since it would be indicative of the upper slopes. We continued to the tricky ridge as it got light, left our skis there and put on actual boots (last time I climbed in ski boots, this was better). While we transitioned, we got pretty cold. We brought big puffys since the freezing level was 0ft and it was probably 5 or 10 degrees. Fortunately, the sky was clear and there wasn't a breath of wind. We hurried through that transition and started booting up the ridge in all our clothes. Bobcat? Not a dog, not very big... It was slow going and I punched through to my hips or deeper at several points. We were toasty warm by the time we were at the base of the route. The left-hand variation Kyle and I took last time looked much thinner so we opted to climb the ridge above us and see if that would go. We soloed up easy rock to an impassable wall. Luckily we could traverse left and rejoin the first pitch from last time. Tavish led that and gave me a meat belay to the first bench. I led the next pitch which provided a full 60m of sustained ice. Very fun! Tavish took off from there and we simuled around 150m. It's so fun to move quickly, especially when it's that cold! We got further on this simul pitch than last time and I got worried that Tavish was going to get to the spot Kyle fell before I could warn him of the dangers. Luckily, he didn’t. He belayed from a thick clear smear, right of the curtain. I led the curtain up a weakness on the right and it wasn't too bad. Above that, there was an ideal ice bulge on the right to belay from. This was great because it provided an easy spot to transition from climbing to soloing and eventually to rappelling. I rigged a V-thread while Tavish soloed up the snow above. After threading the ropes, I took off after him. I caught up and he looked concerned. I could also feel the snow was not ideal. We could see snow plumes ripping over the ridge above us and the snow we were on was a cohesive wind slab. We downclimbed a bit and then went up further left through some tight constrictions and ice. Above that, there was another wide-open snow slope and we found two distinct layers in the snowpack. The top here was about 6in thick styrofoam-y feeling wind slab. Bellow that was another 4in thick older windslab, and below that was sugar. We had probably already gone too far but we decided to call it here and started down. Me on the second pitch (SO GOOD) Tavish getting to the top of pitch 1. Tavish taking off into the simul section. Tavish on the upper slopes It's hard to turn around so close but we were certainly riding a fine line with zero margin for error, given what was below our feet. Down climbing steep snow isn't fun but we got it done and got to the ropes. The raps went smoothly and we found great ice at the base of each 60m rap. The last pitch had to be broken into two raps last time, both off pretty small trees, so this time we tried another option. We went off a little more south off a slightly bigger tree and did an exactly 60m rap down rock that got us on to snow. We post holed in wet sun affected snow to our skis, and the rest of the descent went smoothly, albeit, pretty slow since we were tired. We got to the car before dark for 17hr c2c. Tavish on the final rap. Lots of ice above Full Moon Fever... Anyone interested?? That's it for now! Feel free to reach out with more questions! Sorry, I don't have more photos from on the route it's self. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Gear Notes: See Rack Section Approach Notes: See Approach Section
  10. 4 points
    Signing in to cash in my .02 I respect Kyle's POV and think that his perspective has it's place in this discussion - but I wanted to counter and speak in favor of Landon. 1) Marc Andre Leclerc died while rappelling (likely swept). Guy Lacelle was swept by an avvie. So were Hansjorg Auer and David Lama. So was Ueli Steck. It is rare that a soloist dies on a technically challenging solo. It happens (Austin Howell, Jean-Chirstophe Laifelle, Ryan Jennings) but isn't the leading cause of death in the mountains for high end soloists, and it isn't clear if they would have survived (with the exception of Howell) had they been partnered. The greatest general risk factor in climbing is simply mileage in the mountains, the terrain traveled, and its associated cumulative probability. It stands to reason that we should shame people who get out and climb constantly, but we don't, because that isn't quite as scary to imagine as being on the Yocum ridge without a rope - the gear+roped risks are more familiar to us and are less obvious. It would also force us to question if we should be climbing at all in the first place - which is something that we are reluctant to do. 2) The amount of risk taken on a solo is generally most obvious to the soloist themselves (assuming that the soloist is prepared and lucid). The rest of us can only assume, given that we do not know how solid the soloist is and how favorable conditions were at the time of the solo. I know Kyle climbed the Yocum ridge this season as well, so he has an idea of the risk that was taken by Landon (which is likely why he made his post) - however, it is entirely possible that Kyle took on more with the rope (given the poor nature of the gear on Yocum, Kyle's specific skillset + experience relative to Landon's and the mental blanket that gear can offer in otherwise fatal fall scenarios). That being said, it is impossible to know - we can only assume since we do not know the minutiae of both ascents and both climbers. 3) Generally speaking, if you make a habit of soloing, your risk of dying while climbing is much higher than that of a casual climber. This has likely more to do with your threshold of acceptable risk + mileage in high consequence terrain than it does with the specific act of soloing. Our willingness to take on risk correlates greatly with what we have to lose, our cumulative experience, and our personalities. Our relationship with risk changes with age, and I have to say that I there are risks that I personally took as a younger person that I would not take today. I have also gotten in over my head before and survived - how much of that I can attribute to luck rather than innate skill, I will never know. If you make a habit of soloing, it is less likely you will survive to learn a lesson from your mistakes due to the thin margin of error that is allowed. I think Landon's accomplishment is incredible given that he has survived it. It is certainly an experience he will never forget. I also think that it is best to solo rarely and to have 99% of your climbing experience be with a rope, so that your odds of surviving a marginal scenario and learning from it are greater. Ultimately though, soloing is a very personal activity and is something that I would only criticize if I honestly believe that the ascent was sketchy. I have not climbed with Landon (or the Yocum ridge) so I cannot form an opinion about his judgement or skill. Landon is young, so he will inherently get more flak from the community - such is the nature of talking about your solo ascents. Consider it a rite of passage, every public soloist has gotten this reaction in the face of their accomplishments. The fear of this kind of reaction is also the chief reason there are also many mind bending solos that do not get reported first hand. That being said, I think that the spirit of his post is to share something that was deeply personal with a community that he admires (rather than spray to us) and I respect it for that reason. I would also lie if I said that I do not feel a chill to my core when hearing of other's solo ascents. We inherently struggle with accepting the certainty that comes with many solos (i.e. "you send or you die"). Anyway, also getting off of my soapbox - congrats if you made it through this wall of text. Good job Landon - this is a first class achievement.
  11. 4 points
    Trip: Mount Snoqualmie - New York Gully Trip Date: 03/15/2020 Trip Report: http://www.gorobets.com/New_York_Gully_2020_03_25.html Gear Notes: 2 half ropes 2 pairs of tools per climber A set of cams from 0.2” to 3” wth doubles in small range. Used most of them. A set of nuts. Not used. 10 runners. We should take 12 in retrospective. I almost run out of runners on pitch 3. 4 pitons. Used 1. BD Spectra. Used. 4 ice screws – not used. 2 pickets –1 would be enough. Approach Notes: No flotation used.
  12. 4 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Sunshine from Timberline Trip Date: 03/19/2020 Trip Report: ~33 F, clear and no wind to start. Only a few gusts heading up to Palmer. Even though it was forecast to be 14 F at night on the summit and fairly cold below, the puffy stayed in the pack. So nice not having 20+ MPH winds, first time for me this year. The traverse over was about expected, crappy but not horrible with a good amount of foot wrenching and wondering how much longer I’ll do these kinds of routes. The foot and a half of unconsolidated snow on part of the Newton Clark was concerning. Instead of following the normal climbing route up to the Spur I stayed a bit lower. This worked out fine, the climb up to the spur wasn’t too steep. Found the approximate spot to start the downclimb to the Eliot, https://imgur.com/a/dgOh8hj, that I’d spied on my previous Cooper Spur climb. The top part was fairly solid but became less so further down. About 30 feet from the bottom, my right foot poked through a hole. I could see a rock and a little bit of black down there – not horrible but not good either. Got the leg out and put knees and feet above the snow and froggied down the rest. My original plan was to head up the left side and cross the Eliot on the top shelf above the ice fall. Given that there was a bunch of unconsolidated snow on Newton Clark and I’d never crossed the Eliot, I decided to stay low and headed toward the lower ski circumnavigation route. To my surprise, the Eliot seemed mostly featureless and safe – yay. I altered my course a bit and just headed mostly straight across and up which took me to the ski route not far below the Sunshine route. Caned from there all the way up to below Anderson Rock. There looked to be a small bergschrund on the left below Snowdome but I didn’t investigate. Anderson Rock was guarded by a mess of small bergschrunds. I got up the first one and had to search to get over the second. Someone else was up there previously but I only saw their steps heading back from where I came. The second one was worse / sketchier. Climbing through the rocks and ice was fun but definitely not something for a solo beginner. The bergschrund below Horseshoe rock, at first glance, looked like it went from the Headwall all the way over to Cathedral. I figured I may as well get closer and to my surprise, just to the left of a big snow wall / formation, there was a small decent ramp that led directly up through Horseshoe Rock. The ramp was short, 10 feet probably but the climbing above it was challenging. Earlier in the year I accidentally did the Reid Headwall and popped out above the West Crater Rim route. That was challenging, but this section was harder, maybe not quite as steep but there was no place to rest. Thanks to all the climbers that have put in the boot pack from above the Queen’s chair to the summit ridge. So much easier than post hole-ing through the unconsolidated snow on the right or me doing a crappy job of navigating through the ice on the left. https://imgur.com/gallery/LkUPX3C 8:50 PM Climber's Lot 10:45 PM Top of Palmer 12:00 AM On a ridge past White River Canyon 3:00 AM Start heading down to Eliot Glacier from Cooper Spur 4:45 AM At intersection of the ski circumnavigation and Sunshine route 6:20 AM Below Anderson Rock 7:15 AM Above Anderson Rock 8:00 AM Start up ramp over bergschrund on Horseshoe Rock 8:50 AM Over Horseshoe Rock 9:50 AM Summit ridge 10:20 AM Summit 1:40 PM Car Gear Notes: Helmet, axe, 2 tools, crampons Approach Notes: Crappy but not horrible
  13. 4 points
    Trip: Lost Marbles Couloir - Hidden Lake Peaks Area - Lost Marbles Couloir Trip Date: 03/01/2020 Trip Report: Tim did a nice write up on TAY, for our ski descent and boot-up of the Lost Marbles Couloir. Link To Report Here Does anyone know if this is a commonly done trip? It seemed too good for the almost total lack of information online. I'm mostly posting here because I love Cascadeclimbers and don't want it to fade into oblivion. BTW that's what will happen to your trip report if you post it on Facebook. No one will ever hear about how awesome you are, nor will others benefit from your beta in years to come. Gear Notes: Skis Approach Notes: Hidden Lake Trail route to around 4800'
  14. 3 points
    Message from Olympic Mountain Rescue I had high hopes of ticking off some climbs this spring and summer but decided to forego technical alpine climbing for the time being. With the crisis overloading our healthcare system, we all really need to be staying well within our skill set and not taking any unnecessary risks. You do not want to be taken to a hospital full of Corvid-19 patients. Stay safe out there.
  15. 3 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Yocum Ridge Trip Date: 03/12/2020 Trip Report: Got on Yocum Ridge with one of my most solid partners on Thursday, March 12 2020. You can read my full trip report and blog post on my site, Spokalpine. Here's some additional notes for potential suitors: This is a wild climb! Sustained moderate technical difficulties from bottom to top with a few cruxy sections means that you need calves of steel. Nerves of steel certainly help too, because protection is very limited on the hard pitches. Being able to comfortably solo AI3/WI3 is a huge asset and probably necessary to get up this thing. I'm not talking about what gets passed for WI3 in the PNW, either... think legit WI3 with bulges and vertical sections. I've talked to a few people who think the route could earn an AI4 rating but I don't think there was anything sustained enough to earn that grade. Not that it matters, because it seems impossible to grade rime ice on the typical waterfall/alpine ice scale. It's so unstable and difficult to protect... this isn't the place to use your perfect A-frame technique that works so well on waterfall ice. Distributing weight between your tools and foot placements is required. If you swing more than once or twice into a placement, the whole placement likely disintegrates and you're left trying to find somewhere else to swing. As I was placing a screw on the first crux, the tool I was hanging off of pulled 4 inches through the shitty ice before it hit a blob of blue ice that would support me. This was especially hair-raising considering the massive exposure on either side of the first gendarme. My experience on Yocum Ridge was intense and satisfying. After the climb, Kyle hit the road back to Portland and I drove to Hood River to stay the night. After a good dinner and some galavanting with new friends from the local bar, I sat alone in a park along the river. 24 hours earlier, Kyle and I had left Timberline for our climb. The famous Nietzsche quote "...if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you" bounced around my mind. After staring into the very literal abyss on either side of Yocum Ridge, I was more focused on the figurative. Yocum Ridge took most of what I had to give - and in return, it gave back to me. The mark of a truly challenging and worthwhile climb. Gear Notes: Three pickets, six screws (3x 10cm, 2x 13cm, 1x 17cm), pitons, small cams (used up to .75), nuts (tiny to medium sizes). I would not get on this route without a rope system that enables long rappels. We did one rappel that was 55 meters. Approach Notes: Easy as it gets
  16. 3 points
    I bet that's why he has a professional instagram account and the post about this climb includes 30 hashtags... I know what decisions I made when I was 20 years old, and I know the stories that I told myself to justify them. I also know how they look now, with 15 years more accumulated wisdom. I don't think pointing to Marc-Andre is a very convincing argument either, considering he left this world before his 30th birthday and left behind a grieving community. I will now depart my soapbox and won't bring any more negativity to this significant achievement, but I am out of patience for seeing young/new climbers hanging it way out there and getting nothing besides "atta boy!" from this community.
  17. 3 points
    Although I've never met him, I am pretty sure that @landoclimb isn't doing it because of any encouragement online. The first swing into that rimey swiss cheese will bring that into clear focus. There is a long climbing tradition of the young and the keen soloing where the consequences are clear and unforgiving- much to the vexation of parents everywhere. Doesn't make it right or wrong, it just is. I don't think that is lost on anyone, let alone this young man. And, we've been around this bush with the likes of @Colin, @marc_leclerc and many others over the years. They didn't listen either.
  18. 3 points
    Trip: Marble Creek Cirque - Lost Marbles Couloir Trip Date: 03/09/2020 Trip Report: Wow, what a feature! And what an outrageous setting! But just be sure that the avalanche danger is reasonable, and expect that the snow in the couloir will likely be the worst on the entire tour. Be thankful if it is, actually. Because if it isn't, there is a much greater chance that you will have a quick trip into the cirque. So much hanging over your head! Thanks to @skykilo for bringing this gem to the masses and to @geosean for jogging my failing memory. Lastly, thanks to @therunningdog for being a true friend and breaking trail for my sorry ass most of the way in and out. If you have ever gotten out with him you know that his fitness is legendary and remarkable. Fun to be the beneficiary, yet again. All I can provide are these photos..... Early Morning Spire and Dorado Needle above @therunningdog It has to begin somewhere. And here it is. Oops. Not off to an auspicious start. Not a place to be in considerable or higher avy danger Whew! 20 mins down and 3 hours up! North side of Triad I still care that you tele @therunningdog Gear Notes: don't you dare bring snowshoes Approach Notes: Parked at ~1900' on HLL road. Plan for a 10 hour day with stops.
  19. 3 points
    With more of life, most eventually find that peace you're searching for- but then the climbs (if one still climbs) tend to involve partners and are pedestrian, predictable, and safe. Now, you are in your storm years- raging, full on! Good luck and stay as safe as you can.
  20. 3 points
    Strong work Matt and Noah! A serious accomplishment. Intimidating pictures! Bold and heady climbing, and creative problem solving. Thanks for sharing! A shot of you guys as ants on the first gendarme. Goddamn that’s a lot of complicated terrain!
  21. 3 points
    My friend Sean and I went for the FSA (First Second Ascent) this weekend the slow and heavy way, Unfortunately the weather gods had different plans. When we got to camp in the basin it had snowed more than expected, and kept snowing hard through the night. We called it as we were going to bed to the sounds of large natural slides ripping down the north and west face. Luckily I brought my fat (read only) skis and we got a few laps of knee deep powder in the basin before skiing out. I had been looking at your guys line earlier this season as the obvious line of weakness up the face but I lack the motivation to venture that far into the unknown. Thanks for dreaming big and I hope you heal up fast to get back out there this summer!
  22. 3 points
    People need to dump FB/IG/TikTok/whatever and come back to the OG site for alpine bloviating!
  23. 2 points
    Alright I know I'm not the only one who tinkers with my clothes or gear for climbing.... Let's see what you've done to improve a particular piece or what you've made on your own! I'll start with some easy mods I've done and if this thread gains traction I'll add some more along with gear I've made myself. Shock cord keeper on a pair of Raab pants that where lacking grommets or anything to attach the shock cord to. Posted in a glove discussion thread but here they are again. Added cinch collars to a pair of Showa TEMRES. Soon we won't have to do this ourselves though. Small detail that makes a HUGE difference. Bigger pull tabs on a pair of Patagonia Pant's zippers. Nothing worse than being at an anchor and struggling to get your fly unzipped with gloves on.
  24. 2 points
    I'm a little too busy to worry about climbing right now. I wonder if they designed the PAPR hood around the Ecrin Roc. They sure fit the same. Stay safe and practice social distancing.
  25. 2 points
    I took some more time to reflect on the whole experience with Sloan: the mistakes, the aftermath, the criticisms, and ultimately, what this climb means to me. If you want to get real deep: https://climberkyle.com/2020/03/25/life-after-sloan/
  26. 2 points
    Just to jot down a few more routes while they are in my head: Mount Hood: (Much info on Wayne Wallace's blog: https://waynewallace.wordpress.com/?s=hood) North Face Left Gulley North Face Right Gulley Black Spider https://waynewallace.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/the-black-spider/ Three Little Monkeys: The Pencil Arachnophobia: Elliot Glacier Headwall Reid Glacier Headwall Yocum Ridge Illumination Rock (Topo from Wayne Wallace) Johannesberg Peak NEB NE Face Mixup Peak West Face The Misunderstanding Sahale Peak East Face Couloir
  27. 2 points
    I would love to rope up with Landon ... yeah he is young but reading his posts there is some good stuff there that this well aged alpinist sees. Besides being young, he can carry the rope and the rack. Though he does seem a bit pre-occupied with Mt. Hood, I am sure that will change :-).
  28. 2 points
    Sounds like an amazing adventure. I'm not one to tell you what to do or not to do. As Jimi Hendrix said, "I'm the one that's going to have to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my own life the way I want to" (If 6 was 9). Risk is an essential part of climbing for many of us, and we all have to find the level that suits us best. However, with maturity most of us come to realize that the pain our death or disability would inflict on our families, friends, partners, and communities is greater than we would experience ourselves. Read this thoughtful piece from Colin Haley, a local legend who did a lot of soloing in his younger years.... https://www.colinhaley.com/a-brief-visit-to-patagonia-and-reflections-on-hard-solo-climbing/
  29. 2 points
    The social media game is shitty for sure. Unfortunately in this era, social media opens up opportunities. I would have to be a sad human to risk my life for a heart on the bottom of a post. You can come climbing with me if you want to know why I do these things. We both live in Portland.
  30. 2 points
    I recorded a podcast trip report for this climb. For those interested: http://thefirnline.com/episodes/fast-times-at-yokum-ridge/
  31. 2 points
    Trip: South Sister - Prouty Headwall Trip Date: 03/19/2020 Trip Report: Feeling grateful to have days like these right in my (new) backyard. I parked at Dutchman Flat, therefore having about 6 miles of pleasant road skinning to get to the usual Devil's Lake trailhead. The day started out cold and humid, but there were no winds and by the afternoon things felt like spring. I was able to skin to about 9000 feet (without ski crampons), traversing all manners of frozen mank along the way. Booting to the summit involved rime, a little blue ice, and icy hardpack that didn't even pretend like it would soften into corn. The summit was clear and beautiful, and a raven greeted me when I arrived. Wanting to avoid the ice I climbed up, I dropped into sheltered ENE facing slopes above the Prouty Headwall. Though it at times threatened to get icy, I was mostly skiing shallow, creamy, windbuffed pow. The standard lines through the headwall (that I had seen detailed elsewhere) were all out, with low tide and large rock bands. I couldn't see the exit, but a steep couloir directly below Hodge's Crest tempted me. I dropped in on the same soft snow as above, which soon became less and less edgeable. Below, I could see it transitioning to water ice and rock at the couloir's exit. Fortunately, a mellow ramp cut left at this time, dropping me perfectly onto the broad, powdery lower headwall. Hero turns ensued. I've been in Patagonia since December, so this was day 3 on skis for me this year and my legs were burning as I skied through the seasons from high alpine pow all the way down to a warm spring snowpack at Green Lake. I found the perfect spot to lay in the sun, doing my best not to think too much about the long, flat walk out. Back at the car a few hours later, I saw the first other humans I'd seen all day. Social isolation achieved. Gear Notes: someday I need to actually purchase ski crampons. Approach Notes: aerobic.
  32. 2 points
    Okay the third time will be the charm. Get Kyle when he is healed and git the damn thing done to the top!!
  33. 2 points
    Good attempt! Hope you heal up! I had a pretty good attempt up the middle a few years back. Ran out of time on a car to car attempt. Some very thin unprotecable climbing to be had!
  34. 2 points
    I agree on the bastards part but I think you just have other priorities with your $ and enjoy crushing the deskjockys like me who have the latest and greatest gear.
  35. 2 points
    Nice attempt, get better and get back on it.
  36. 2 points
    @Michael Telstad exactly, that's why we waited until the face had not seen fresh snow in 4-5 days before going up. Hard to get sometimes. We waited all winter for it. There was still a lot of spindrift. The other (ideal) condition would be a high rain event, then hard freeze to lock everything up. Then you'd be able to boot everything.
  37. 2 points
    @Kyle M I think we tried to force it this time around. We should have known it wasn't gonna go after hearing that baker got a surprise 2ft of fresh the day before. Going forward I'm definitely gonna wait for firm safe conditions and a bombproof weather forecast.
  38. 2 points
    not related to roof rack but some general advice for border crossing coming from an actual border guard I met once 1. always have your hands present at border. I usually keep on hand on steering wheel and other hand on window/door casually. Hiding hands is sign of hiding something else. 2.always look at border agent eyes. avoiding eye contact is another give away of hiding something. 3. just tell the truth. they look for facial signs of lies. you can not act your way out of these tells. 4. be somewhat tidy but not too tidy with gear. Look "normal". this may be your stopping point with diy roof rack but if the rest of the points followed, maybe not a real issue. 5. don't be a jack ass or Funny. duh.
  39. 2 points
    Go for it and have a plan B. I have been a dirt bag climber and skier for decades, and happen to drive a Accent as well, the hatchback. Strap the skies to the roof but be sure they are in a ski bag to protect from road salt and go for it. I have no record, short hair and in my 60s. I still sleep in the car and ALWAYS wonder what new adventures will come my way crossing the border. There is no reason I can figure out why I have this issue but I always assume that I will get searched, take no chances with anything "illegal" in the car. Have enough cash/credit cards to make it look like you can afford your visit, and have a specific destination in mind, even a specific accommodation you may stay at even though you have no intention of staying there. Based on my past history I always carry my passport when I travel, think you need that for Canada anyway. Keep your beard, keep your mouth shut, and follow their directions - no humor for sure. To be honest I have more issues returning to the states than leaving.
  40. 2 points
    Your face!!!!! Gaaaaaahhhhhh. Glad you survived, wow.
  41. 2 points
    Trip: Mt Hood - Cooper Spur from Timberline Lodge Trip Date: 02/27/2020 Trip Report: Followed https://caltopo.com/m/15S0 10:40 climber’s lot 12:30 top of palmer 1:20 headed down white river canyon 4:45 on spur 6:00 just below chimneys 7:50 summit Traverse between the bottom of White River Canyon to half way through the rocky section between it and the Newton Clark had embedded chucks of ice in a crust of ice and compacted snow. Used tools where I expected instead to make quick progress canning over. Luckily it was firm to sinking only a couple inches on the Newton Clark. The ramp up to the spur was very gradual and no ice at all on the spur. Waited around for daylight before heading up. Nothing was coming down from above which was nice. Mostly firm snow on the spur but unconsolidated fluff near and through the chimneys, worst 20 feet before the exit / where the grade eases up, maybe 1.5 feet deep. No cornice over the summit. Down climbed the Old Chute. Images https://imgur.com/gallery/t3DYo6C Gear Notes: Helmet, axe, tools, crampons Approach Notes: Chewed up cat snow to top of Palmer, crap on White River, nice on Newton Clark.
  42. 2 points
    Trip: Dragontail & Prusik - Triple Couloirs to Solid Gold Date: 5/15/2014 Trip Report: There are probably only a few weeks each year where you can easily take full advantage of all the various amazing mountain sports in the Cascades, and combine them into single days. I spent last week hounding various friends and partners. Want to go skiing? Want to go ice climbing? Want to get on some alpine granite? When asked those 3 questions, my friend Matt said "yes" and that was that. We started off by climbing Triple Couloirs on Dragontail. The snow and ice on Colchuck was good enough to ski across, especially if one stayed on the west side of the lake. We found the route to be thin but well-protected with bomber rock gear. I placed (and left) 1 short LA, but our three ice screws were a total waste of energy to carry. We didn't find anything close to ice which would take a screw, but there was an occasional veneer of slush atop wet slabs and muddy flakes. The crux pitch: It had been so warm last week that the snow was isothermic and we were post-holing pretty badly, especially with heavy packs laden down with rock and ski gear. I had completely forgotten gloves, and I lead the first pitch on Triple Couloirs with bare hands and in a single light shirt. Did I mention it was warm? The step right into the final couloir: After a few more short pitches and much soft snow wallowing, we lunched atop Dragtonail and assessed our options. Aasgard Sentinel and CBR rock routes are both looking primo, but we decided there was still plenty of time to head over to Prusik. The ski to Prusik, we made it to within 100 yards of the route before switching out of skis: A triple-couloir/Der-Sportsman linkup ("The Triple Der!") crossed our minds, but it was late in the day by the time we racked up beneath Prusik's south face. We settled on Solid Gold, which is about as good as it gets for 5.10 alpine granite. Amid darkening clouds and Mordor-style wind and rain vortexes, we skinned back to Aasgard and made a nearly continuous ski descent back down and across the lake, where we re-donned our tennis shoes for the final few miles to the car. Gear Notes: Gear to #2 camalot, used 1 pin on TC. Approach Notes: No snow on the trail until you turn off toward Colchuck, then it's 1/2 packed snow and 1/2 mud to the lake. I would expect Colchuck Lake is no longer crossable. The ski down from the Aasgard Sentinel (Acid Baby, Valkyrie) is so rad right now, it makes the knee-destroying summer slog look pretty bad.
  43. 1 point
    Nice list, there are a few of these floating around. Yours adds a couple of new routes. There has been a winter alpine guide book in the works for some time. I was expecting to get a draft for review, but that was a few years ago. If someone was industrious they would create a web based guide book to winter ascents and your blog is a good start. (Hint, hint).
  44. 1 point
    The podcast was good! It was great to hear how you guys experienced that route.
  45. 1 point
    Nice to see this beta all in one place. Plenty of time for a CC forum revival in quarantine.
  46. 1 point
    Way to go boys!!!! It's cool you guys found a different start variation this time, since I know the pitch we climbed the first time probably isn't in most of the time. Hopefully others get on this route, it's a true gem of the Cascades. Best moderate alpine ice route in the Cascades IMHO (I'm not biased, right?).
  47. 1 point
    Nice work! Thanks for posting.
  48. 1 point
    Yikes! I just read the blog post and saw the photo. I hope that doesn't leave a mark! Reminds me of some idiot that managed to fall off the Girth Pillar.
  49. 1 point
    Dammit. Horrible news and way too close to situations I've brought on myself, and luckily escaped from. Emphasis on luck.
  50. 1 point
    Here are some bad pics to prove we were there and shiz like that...
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